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365 Beers wrap up

A year has come and gone. My “365 beers in 365 days” adventure officially ended in April, and now I can go back to drinking what I like when I want it. I learned to appreciate the biting hops in an IPA, the crisp drinkability of a Pilsner, and the room temperature smoothness of a nice ESB. Those three varieties top my list of favorites, and I’m glad I’ve gotten to know them better. I didn’t quite make the half-way point on my adventure; I recorded only 158 different beers from 101 different brewers.

Brew pubs made my life a little easier with their sampler flights and snacks – Stone, Grizzly Peak, dillon DAM, and Leopold Bros. were the four brew pubs I visited. Well, “brew pub” isn’t quite the word. They brew beer, and they serve food. Stone, especially, has really, really good food. You’ll notice Arbor Brewing is not on that list, even though they’re right here in Ann Arbor. I really don’t like their beer, and their food makes me sad. I managed to avoid them all year, save a University of Chicago alumni event and an “Alt” with my Haab’s fried chicken. I appreciate all the work the Greffs do for our communities, but I won’t be visiting Arbor or Corner much more often. Now that Leopold Bros. is closed, I won’t have to make any more excuses to go to my Ann Arbor favorite – Grizzly Peak.

My favorites beers were brewed by Stone Brewing Co. in Escondido, CA and Lagunitas Brewing Co. in Petaluma, CA. Stone gets bonus points for their environmentally-friendly practices (including serving locally, sustainably grown food and biodiesel work crew fleets). New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, CO tries to be environmentally friendly too, and their Springboard beer is the only remotely blonde one I liked.

I’ll be buying Stone beers for home when I know I’ll be doing some drinking.  Beers like Arrogant Bastard and Ruination IPA are not for the faint of heart, nor the “about to drive.”  They’re so tasty and strong though, that they have a spot in my fridge.  The Pilsner from Laguitas is one of the most drinkable beers I tried, and I’ll keep it around for occasional, spontaneous consumption.  It’s great with burgers, oysters, to celebrate turning in a conference submission, playing Wii, watching the Cubs beat the Brewers 19-5, whatever.  Both breweries’ beers (and most of the ones I’ve tried) are available at Super Liquor IV in Ann Arbor.  Super Liquor is the best liquor store around, despite their B+ from Beer Advocate.

For those of you who may consider my beer adventure a failure because I didn’t reach 365 different beers, consider this – I spent over $500 to get this far.  For a grad student who prefers Coca-Cola, that’s a serious investment.  Summer’s almost here, and I may try some sort of Washington beer quest while I’m in Seattle.  I’ll let you know.  Until then, drink responsibly and try something new every once in a while.


3 Comments

  • Eric Cook |

    I’m completely with you re: Stone Brewing Co, but am sad that ABC ranked low in your year. I’d certainly rate them higher than Leopolds; as much as I appreciate and respect LB’s hang-out vibe (esp. since it’s going away), their beers always left me flat and always tasted too similar to one another, regardless of style. (They do make some great gin, though.)

    Did you go in for anything from Rogue? I love their Brutal Bitter.

  • Andrea |

    I had a really similar sentiment when I finished up my Project365 photography series – I could finally shoot what I wanted, when I wanted, without the pressure of needing to turn out an image a day. On the other hand, now I find that I don’t do as much photography as I wish I did…

    If you ever make it up to Central New York, we have a slew of really good breweries, and no shortage of tasty brews. 🙂

  • libbyh |

    I like how this kind of “one a day” project helps me try new things, and you’re right that once such a project is over, activity decreases. I’m sorry to hear you’re not doing as much photography as you wish; I lucked out since I should probably drink less beer anyway. I may add “brewery tours” to me “baseball parks” travel plans. Next up, Seattle’s Safeco field!

So, what do you think ?

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